They may be called common electrical problems, but that doesn’t mean some of them aren’t potentially dangerous to you, your equipment, and your home. Others may be outright code violations. From flickering lights to full-blown outages, it’s important to understand what you’re dealing with and whether you can fix the problem yourself.
Here are some wiring problems that may be present in your home and the solutions a professional, licensed electrician like Spyrka offers.
Common Electrical Problems
- Uncovered junction boxes. Junction boxes house spliced wires; uncovered ones are a code violation, and someone could get a shock if they touch a damaged wire. Danger is minimal but get a new cover to be safe.
- Missing GFCIs. Now mandatory in new bathrooms and kitchens, GFCIs shut down circuits before a current can cause a deadly shock. Old receptacles should be replaced, a fairly simple DIY job. An electrician will also do it for a reasonable rate.
- “Backstabbed” wires are those simply pushed to the back behind switches and receptacles. While not a code violation, to prevent damage the wires should be attached to the appropriate screw terminals on the receptacle.
- Overlamping is when a higher wattage bulb than is called for is used in a light fixture. This code violation can result in arcing, a chief cause of electrical fires. Always follow the wattage limit listed on your fixtures. If you have one manufactured before 1985, use only a 60-watt or smaller bulb.
- If your lights flicker when it’s windy it may be due to frayed wiring in the outdoor fitting where power line cables come into your home. This is a dangerous problem that can also cause arcing and fire. Before calling an electrician, ask your electric utility to replace what’s known as the weatherhead at no charge.
- Extension cords and power strips. Heavy reliance on these devices can result in overheating or even a fire if electrical loads are too heavy. The simplest solution is to add more outlets, a job that requires knowing how to cut holes in the walls and ceilings to snake the wires.
- Overwired electrical panel. This common code violation happens when too many one-circuit breakers have been replaced with two-circuit ones in one slot. Though the danger posed is minimal, adding a subpanel with a few extra slots is a worthwhile investment.
- Aluminum wiring was used in homes in the 1960s and 1970s as a less expensive substitute for copper. Because aluminum corrodes, loose connections can eventually arc and cause a fire. To prevent the corrosion, it’s best to retrofit what’s called a dielectric wire nut onto each connection in light fixtures.
- 2-Prong receptacles. Today’s code requires grounded circuits and receptacles, but if you have older wiring and use 3-prong adaptors to accommodate modern plugs, you may seriously damage the device you’re plugging in and increase the change of electrocution. Best to get them replaced.
- Dead outlets. This problem is usually evidenced by an inability to hold a plug; you may also see some discoloration. Worn out outlets and lights should always be replaced.
Call Now for Spyrka Repair Solutions
For more than 25 years, Spyrka Electrical has been solving common electrical problems for homeowners in Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, and the entire North Bay Area. If you notice one or more of these common electrical problems, or if you’d like to schedule a home electrical inspection, contact us today by phone, email, or online. We’ll be happy to assess any problems and perform necessary electrical repair and installation services in a friendly and professional manner.